Meta Isn’t Expecting Within Acquisition To Proceed Until February
Meta is expecting to close its Within acquisition only after February 2023 as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has extended its Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) by one month.
Meta announced it was planning to acquire Within Unlimited, the developer behind the VR fitness hit Supernatural, last year. The acquisition bid triggered an FTC antitrust probe that has so far stalled the process. FTC went on to file a Temporary Restraining Order along with a Preliminary Injunction forcing the deal to remain open until December 31, 2022. Reuters is now confirming via a court filing that due to a new court ruling, the deal will be extended to January 31, 2023. This could be dropped much sooner based on a new ruling date.
FTC sued Meta in July to stop the acquisition of Within. FTC argues that Meta’s acquisition bid will “substantially lessen competition” and that such a move would “tend to create a monopoly” in the markets for dedicated virtual reality apps. In its objection, FTC cites Meta’s existing ownership of the VR rhythm game Beat Saber.
The federal consumer protection agency argues that with the Within acquisition, Meta would be inching closer “to its ultimate goal of owning the entire Metaverse.” Meta dismisses FTC’s case as one that is based on “ideology and speculation” rather than evidence.
According to a Bloomberg report, Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth told the court that should the deal fail to materialize “in a timely manner”, Meta would simply “walk away” from it.
In spite of the ongoing Within lawsuit, Meta is still continuing with the acquisition of other VR developers. In October, Meta acquired Armature and Camouflaj, the studios behind Resident Evil 4 VR and Marvel’s Iron Man VR respectively.